I'm now working on translating the World Guide, the most important part of the World Guidance book--it's a digest-type thing that's divided into two-page sections. This is the first one, and it contains mostly really basic stuff; I think the most interesting section is Ito's little tl;dr at the end.
For once, this translation contains no spoilers. It would probably be nicer if you had a copy of the book, because there are pictures scattered throughout the text, but since none of it's new art, I'm not scanning it.
Like with the two previous translation posts, I don't mind if you link to this post from everywhere on the planet, since this information's meant to be shared. But credit me for the translation, and don't repost this stuff anywhere. P-PLEASE TO BE RESPECTING MY WORK :C
The three works “Riviera: The Promised Land”, “Yggdra Union”, and “Knights in the Nightmare” feature connected worlds. These three works are set in completely different worlds, but there’s a common “universe” surrounding them. Here, we’ll explain the worldview of the Dept. Heaven series beyond the framework of the existing works. Here to present an overall picture of the world difficult to understand from any individual story’s back setting, the series’ original author—Mr. Ito, the game designer—introduces his explanation.
The settings of each work are in different worlds, but all of those worlds are contained within one universe. There are those who can freely cross between worlds (or dimensions), so the same character can sometimes appear in multiple works.
Ancardia (world of Yggdra Union), Aventheim (world of Knights), Riviera (world of Riviera)
Meaning of “Utgard”
In-game in the series, the word “Utgard” is used, but this is a general term used for worlds where “enemies of Asgard” live, coined for convenience by Asgard and its supporters—not the name of one specific world. It’s different depending on the story, but individual parts of Niflheim and Niflheim as a whole are also called “Utgard”.
Asgard: Dwelling of the Gods
The area where the gods who created the surface worlds live. However, those known as gods began to fall to destruction because of Ragnarok, so the Seven Magi govern Asgard at present. The surface worlds know it as a forbidden holy land, but Asgard can interfere with the human worlds.
Representative Entities: Hector, Servants
After the fall of the gods, Asgard fell under the control of the proxies called the Seven Magi and the sacred armies that serve them.
Heaven’s Gate: Asgard’s Last Line of Defense
A realm between Asgard and the surface worlds created as a line of defense for Asgard, it is also the only area from which Asgard can be accessed via the surface worlds. Because Heaven’s Gate is connected to myriad surface worlds, it’s possible for those of Asgard to interfere in any world they choose.
Representative Entities: Guardian Angels
To protect Asgard, Guardian Angels are stationed, and enforce the security of Heaven’s Gate. Because there have been invasions from Niflheim before, forming a first counterattack is also their duty.
Surface Worlds: The worlds the gods created
The countless surface worlds, which all exist in their own independent time and space, or “separate planes”. However, in between these worlds are “warped worlds” that the gods never expected to form, and the people who live there have the ability come and go between various worlds (dimensions) at will—this is a proven fact.
Representative Entities: Humans, other
Just as Sprites are the dominant race in Riviera, other worlds have various different humanoid races.
Niflheim: Eternally Expanding Chaos
A chaotic world where the gods’ power doesn’t reach. Even those of Asgard recognize it as an eternally expanding place, like the universe itself. At any time, there are many who would try to invade Asgard or the surface worlds, but it’s not as though every inhabitant of Niflheim is hostile. There are many unknown points, but because discontent and rebellions have also erupted in Niflheim, it can’t be considered a monolithic society.
Representative Entities: Demons
It’s not rare for those of Niflheim to appear in the surface worlds. However, before their acts of aggression become publically known, the Guardian Angels usually intervene.
Species Directory 1: Grim Angels
Created personally by the gods, a race of angels specialized in combat. When Asgard was on the verge of collapse due to the crisis of Ragnarok, in order to improve their combat ability, the gods distributed flesh and blood of their own bodies and furthermore imparted their own wisdom in the Grim Angels’ creation. Because the gods fell to ruin after Ragnarok, no more should be able to be produced, but it’s rumored that there are those who are perpetrating experiments to create manmade ones in secrecy.
Grim Angels are an irregular existence separate from ordinary angels. Their bodies are of the highest grade and potential, but on the other hand, because they are an incomplete form of life, their actual period of operation is very short, a trait particular to their race. Because of this, in ordinary times, they are kept in a deep sleep in the angels’ mausoleum, and are awakened only in emergencies. However, it seems that there are many Grim Angels who, once placed in their sleep, are never allowed to awaken again.
Ito Shinichi’s Dept. Heaven secret story, part 1
Even though the Dept. Heaven series as it is now is praised, from the start, the first original title (Riviera for the WonderSwan Color)’s production process was put together from internal data. So from the start, it was never some kind of “Let’s make this kind of series!” grand approach; Riviera itself didn’t have any pre-established worldbuilding at the start. Over the span of nearly the entire preparation phase, I put the emphasis on assembling the game system from the early development stage, so the worldbuilding elements just developed as they were necessary and as was convenient (and so that the setting wouldn’t fail) while the game was being made. For instance, when we made the maps, in those days we had the WonderSwan’s hardware capabilities (the color capabilities and coloring) to think about, so we had “Asgard = seems kind of glittery, so yellow” and “demon castle = nighttime feels cold, so blue” and also “forest = trees and grass are overgrown, so green” kinds of things; the color schemes of the world were decided in an easy-to-understand way. It may seem like an unimaginative story, but the truth is that it couldn’t be helped (sweatdrop). But I think that what you see through the game screen gives dimension to the worldview the player experiences, so I think it’s important to make scenery with ambiance first and foremost. I call this “establishing the exterior”, but when I’m creating a world from there, it’s a very easy approach for me. In “Riviera”, incorporating that concept, the “establishing the exterior” I used to flesh things out helped lead to the framework of the current Dept. Heaven series.